New Mexico state employee fired over medical marijuana

By Stephen C. Webster
Monday, August 20, 2012 16:24 EDT
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Medical marijuana via Andre Blais / Shutterstock
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A state employee in New Mexico, one of 16 states that allows doctors to recommend marijuana for medical uses, told local media that she was fired after a drug test revealed that she’d been following her doctor’s orders to treat post traumatic stress disorder.

The woman told local reporters she never came to work impaired and “was just looking for relief” from her symptoms. “I just wanted to be able to get up and live my life the way I used to.”

Her co-workers at the State Personnel Office allegedly spotted her with red, watery eyes. Even though she claimed to have been up all night with a sick child, management asked her to take a drug test. She was fired when the results came in.

While she wasn’t named in the story, the woman may ultimately be forced to come forward if the state successfully challenges her unemployment benefits. Her attorney, Justin Pennington, said it was a clear case of medical discrimination and that he’s preparing to file a wrongful termination suit in response.

Uneven laws pertaining to medical marijuana have plagued many states since people began coming around on the issue of medical freedom. Even in California, many employers still test for marijuana, legal or not, and people lose their jobs. Same is true in Washington. And in Arizona, employers even have access to a database of all the state’s registered marijuana users, just to make sure nobody’s cheating.

Unfortunately for the nameless former New Mexico state employee, in most cases of termination over medical marijuana use, courts have almost always come down on the side of the employer. Added, New Mexico has “at will” employment laws, meaning her bosses could have given any reason or none whatsoever and still been in the clear.

This video was published by Eyewitness News 4 KOB in New Mexico on Monday, August 20, 2012.


Photo: Medical marijuana via Andre Blais / Shutterstock.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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